US President Barack Obama may be forced to deal with the ban on gay and lesbian military personnel earlier than he had expected.
On Monday a US lawmaker, Representative Ellen Tauscher, announced that she will introduce a bill into Congress to repeal the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law that bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the US military.
The Military Enhancement Readiness Act (MREA) would replace the current law with new provisions prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in the armed forces.
“This law has failed our country and our military for 15 years,” said at a press conference. “It harms military readiness and discriminates against patriotic young men and women who want to serve their country. It’s time for Congress to right this wrong.”
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network commented:
“Representative Tauscher’s bill will significantly improve our military readiness by allowing highly qualified linguists, medics, and intelligence analysts to serve openly in the armed forces.”
Obama has promised to work towards repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell but said that a period of discussion and consultation with the military would be required. Around 12,500 people are said to have been discharged under the law.
“We urge the Commander-in-Chief to lead on this issue, particularly at a time, as reported last week by the Associated Press, when the Pentagon itself concluded the U.S. military is stressed, stretched, and strained,” said Sarvis.